By Geoff Kimmerly
Special for Second Half
Soon we’ll be celebrating District, Regional and Finals champions in boys basketball.
But as we roll into the final week of this regular season, we’ve got a few more memorable stories to tell.
Take, for example, Burton Bentley, which clinched its first league title in 41 years earlier this month after going 9-12 a year ago. Or Okemos, which made an impressive yet at least a little bit unexpected closing run mentioned more below. Last week had a few more surprise wins too that could make storylines more interesting as we get into tournament mode.
Breslin Bound is powered by MI Student Aid and based on results and schedules posted for each school at MHSAA.com. To offer corrections or fill in scores we’re missing, email me at Geoff@mhsaa.com.
Week in Review
The countdown of last week’s five most intriguing results:
1. Novi 71, Canton 56 – The Wildcats have rattled off six straight wins and with this one not only earned a spot in the Kensington Lakes Activities Association championship game, but also handed Canton its only loss this season.
2. Okemos 64, East Lansing 56 – Okemos had beaten the Trojans without star Brandon Johns on Jan. 19, but this win over East Lansing with him clinched for the Chiefs the outright Capital Area Activities Conference Blue title.
3. Maple City Glen Lake 53, Frankfort 47 – This tied things up at the top of the Northwest Conference with Glen Lake, Frankfort and Buckley in line to share the title with one last league game to play.
4. Ishpeming 53, Iron Mountain 47 – Second place Ishpeming can’t catch Iron Mountain in the Mid-Peninsula Athletic Conference, but on this night the Hematites handed the Mountaineers their lone defeat this winter.
5. Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook Kingswood 52, Madison Heights Bishop Foley 36 – After going 12-10 last season, Cranbrook is 18-1 and won the Catholic League C-D tournament title with this victory.
With an eye toward March, here are two teams in each class making sparks:
Detroit U-D Jesuit. (16-3) – The Cubs are Detroit Catholic League Central and A-B tournament champs again, and haven’t lost a game instate since Dec. 15. Jesuit opened this season with a four-point overtime win over Detroit Edison, and will see now-Detroit Public School League champ Edison again Thursday in an Operation Friendship game.
Flint Carman-Ainsworth (17-2) – The Cavaliers won the Saginaw Valley League by three games and gave reigning Class A champion Clarkston one of its few challenges this season, falling by just five on Dec. 7. The only other loss came to Holland West Ottawa (17-2), and nonleague wins over Grand Blanc (16-3), Detroit Renaissance (11-5) and Flint Hamady (13-5) should have Carman-Ainsworth prepared as well.
Detroit Voyageur (18-0) – The Cougars are an intriguing team to watch over the next few weeks coming off Michigan Metro Athletic Conference division and tournament championships and with a win as well over Ypsilanti Arbor Prep (14-4). The Gators and MMAC Black runner-up Detroit Community (10-5) are the only opponents that have come within single digits.
Grand Rapids Catholic Central (16-1) – Considered a Class B contender from the start this season, GRCC has lost only to another in Wyoming Godwin Heights. The Cougars since have won 13 straight and all by double digits, including a pair against Spring Lake (15-4).
Hanover-Horton (16-2) – The Comets have clinched a share of the Cascades Conference title after tying for second last season, and are well on their way to equaling or bettering last year’s 19-4 overall finish. Only second-place Michigan Center (15-2) has come within single digits during Hanover-Horton’s 12-game winning streak.
Kalamazoo Christian (18-1) – The Comets have built on last season’s surprising run to the Quarterfinals with a perfect one through the Southwestern Athletic Conference Valley. The only loss came to SAC Lakeshore winner Coloma (17-2), 58-52 on Jan. 23.
Ellsworth (16-3) – Friday’s win over Vanderbilt clinched a shared Northern Lights Conference title for Ellsworth, which improved from finishing runner-up a year ago. The Lancers haven’t had a game closer than 28 points since falling Jan. 26 in their second meeting this season with eventual league co-champ Wolverine (16-1).
Flint International Academy (17-2) – In its first season in the conference, International can clinch the North Central Thumb League Stars championship outright Tuesday against Kinde-North Huron and has won 12 straight including avenging an earlier loss to second-place Dryden (12-6). Two more big wins have come over Kingston (16-3).
Be on the lookout for results of these games coming up:
Tuesday – Waterford Mott (16-3) at White Lake Lakeland (15-4) – Both have doubled their win totals from last season, and Mott can clinch the inaugural Lakes Valley Conference title outright.
Thursday – Hazel Park (17-1) at Clarkston (17-1) – The Wolves won the first meeting big, but a Hazel Park return favor would mean a shared Oakland Activities Association Red title as long as neither trips up Tuesday.
Thursday – Grand Rapids Catholic Central (16-1) at Holland West Ottawa (17-2) – These league champions get one more tune up before going their separate ways for the tournament.
Thursday – Benton Harbor (18-1) at Wyoming (15-4) – The Wolves also are a league champ and can get one more test before the Class A tournament against this Class B favorite.
Thursday – Novi (12-7) at Grand Blanc (16-3) – The KLAA championship game will pit Gold champion Grand Blanc against the runner-up Wildcats for the third time after winning the first two meetings.
PHOTO: Okemos, here against Grand Ledge, clinched a league title last week by finishing a season sweep of East Lansing. (Click for more from HighSchoolSportsScene.com.)